Texoblogosphere: Week of March12th

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates the winners of last week’s primaries and thanks those who did not win for their dedication as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff gave his post-primary impressions.

Socratic Gadfly has his set of post-primary and pre-runoff thoughts, primarily on the Senate and Governor’s races.

Neil at All People Have Value offered his thoughts on the recent Texas primary with a focus on Harris County.

Stace responds to Dems and media alike regarding Beto’s South Texas performance.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

G. Elliott Morris looked for predictive data in the early voting numbers.

Grits for Breakfast assessed the criminal justice-related primary races of interest.

Paradise in Hell is glad to see the end of Kathaleen Wall’s campaign.

Juanita finds her next job.

Alex Macon bemoans our state’s bad transportation policy.

After Perplexing Attack On Sarah Davis, Have Texas Women Had It With Greg Abbott?

There was a time when some Texans had high hopes for Greg Abbott’s tenure as Governor. (emphasis on the term “some”). The mostly jovial and mild-mannered former Attorney General gave the impression that, perhaps, his administration would bring forth an elevated political discourse which puts the needs of real Texans before inter-partisan bickering and personal vendettas.

Of course… we know how that turned out. Behind the friendly smile lies a politician that really takes that “bully” part of the bully pulpit to heart.

For evidence of this, we need look no further than last year, which found the Governor telling lawmakers that he was “keeping a list” of anyone who opposed his initiatives during the Special Session.

But while Abbott has indeed taken several retaliation measures, one particular lawmaker has received an unprecedented wave of attacks. Here’s more on that from Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle

[Sarah] Davis, a West University Place state representative, lawyer and breast cancer survivor elected in 2010, represents House District 134. She sits on the powerful appropriations committee and chairs the committee on general investigating and ethics. Her power and influence only go so far.

But she’s one of the few moderates who hasn’t given up on Texas politics, who is willing to fight the often-futile battle against motivated, moneyed ideologues who have hijacked the Republican Party.

And for that she has drawn the ire of one of the most powerful, moneyed ideologues of them all: Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor, in a rare move, has come after several moderate Republicans who aren’t inclined to carry his water, but he seems to have reserved a special vintage of vengeance for Davis.

He has not only endorsed Davis’ opponent, Susanna Dokupil, whose chief qualification seems to be that she once worked for Abbott at the attorney general’s office. He has hit the campaign trail for the elusive Dokupil,

‪Not only is HD 134 known as a notorious swing district, but it also has some other unique attributes, like being the home of the world-reknowned  Texas Medical Center, Rice University and some of the most prominent biomedical research centers in the United States. For Governor Abbott to prop up an anti-vaxxer candidate in one of the most Doctor and Medical Professional-heavy electoral districts in the country?? Well…it smacks of either total ignorance or a simple lack of concern for the real issues of Texans in this district. Your guess is as good as mine.

Or perhaps, this fight serves as a proxy for Abbott’s fight against Texas Women. Most will recall that Davis’ record on women’s issues is starkly different than her Republican colleagues. Abbott, on the other hand, has distinguished himself as an ‘anti-woman Governor’ with all deliberate speed. Why else would he veto bi-partisan legislation designed to focus on Women’s Health issues?

Here’s more on that from Sophie Novack of the Texas Observer

Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy in the United States, the highest uninsured rate in the country and an ongoing Zika outbreak that threatens pregnant women. Yet Governor Greg Abbott unilaterally ended a committee that advises the state on women’s health programs.

Abbott on Thursday vetoed a bill with bipartisan support by Senator Borris Miles, D-Houston, that would continue the Women’s Health Advisory Committee past September.

“I am shocked and frustrated by the governor’s veto,” said Representative Donna Howard, D-Austin, who wrote the House companion to Miles’ bill. “At no point during the past six months had the governor’s office expressed any concerns to me over the legislation. This absentee style is disgraceful, and it is now jeopardizing the health and safety of women across the state.”

A very confusing decision, especially after the Governor himself highlighted maternal mortality as a focus of the Special Session. If he cared that much about the issue, what sense does it make to scuttle a panel devoted to research and recommendation?

And in case you’re wondering… a co-sponsor of this bill in the Texas House?  Rep. Sarah Davis.

Whatever the Governor’s motivations, one thing has become clear… Texas women are watching.  Abbott’s curious attempts to oust Davis have drawn major headlines across the state and all over the country.  But while he may believe that his efforts will draw far-right Primary voters to support Dokupil, most that actually live in the district are wondering if the attacks will ultimately serve to actually help Davis.  Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest strong turnout for Davis, including some Democrats that voted in the Republican Primary just to support her.  We’ll find out the final outcome with tonight’s Election results.

But one thing is for sure… this race has exposed a palpable weakness for Governor Abbott.  The misguided decision to meddle in this race could ultimately prove more detrimental to his agenda, and his political future than anyone else.

So back to the opening question… Have Texas Women HAD IT with Greg Abbott??  We’ll find out some opening thoughts on that tonight, with more to come in November.

Texaoblogosphere: Week of February 26th

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges you to get out and vote in the Democratic primary as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff puts the most recent Trump approval numbers for Texas into some context.

SocraticGadfly offers his take on the latest stupidity by former Morning News columnist Rod Dreher.

Stace says let the people vote! This, after DC insider outsiders creep into local races.

Neil at All People Have Value took note of a citizen-improved sign in a Houston neighborhood.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Transgriot and Ashton Woods presents their lists of endorsed candidates.

Rice University Magazine honors the “crazy uncle” of the MOB, John “Grungy” Gladu.

Space City Weather explains why there are so many thunderstorms in the spring.

Tim McSweeny and Dan Brooks provide an update on the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony that was hit hard by Harvey.

The TSTA Blog calls out State Senators who underfund public education then deny having done so when it is pointed out.

 

And on this final day of Black History Month, we highlight the unique Afro-Latinx experience, and remember that this bold community is still underrepresented in media and society.

 

(feature photo credit:  The Afro-Latinos documentary trailer by Renzo-Devia/ Creador Pictures)

TLCQ 2018: James Horwitz

In the Fifteenth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from James Horwitz, candidate for Harris County Probate Court- Number 4.

Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.

 

TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

JH: James Horwitz

TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

JH:  No. I was the Democratic nominee for this Bench in 2014, and ran for the Houston City Council in 2013.

TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

 JH:  Beneath the rotunda of City Hall is a seal. Its caption reads “Government Protects the People.” The adage is twice as true for the judiciary. The probate courts, the judgeship for which I am a candidate, doubles as both a court of law and a court of equity. What this means is that adjudication of the black-letter law is only one component of the job. Doing what is right is another.

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming judicial term. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.

JH:  (1) The most important priority for my Court would be to expand community outreach. It is time for the people to say enough, and demand that the judiciary that works for them actually do so. I would want my Court to be an active member of the community in educating and informing the public about wills, estates, trusts and guardianships, among other functions of the probate courts.

For example, you can handwrite your own will, and in doing so skip most all of the formalities that often cause typewritten wills to be voided in court. Another example is that, if you don’t write a will, the state legislature essentially writes one for you through a process called “intestacy.” The general public basically knows the rudiments of criminal or family law, but often does not for probate law. I want that to end, with my Court being on the vanguard of the change.

(2) I will insist upon more mediations to occur in my Court before trial.

Probate court is often the setting of visceral family disputes, where longstanding feuds rearise. Litigants sometimes lose track of their best interests, and disputes over even modest estates can be tied up for years in court, with the attorneys often taking a sizable chunk of everyone’s inheritances. I want to insist upon more mediations, the way the family courts have operated for years, before trials, so more cases can have happier endings.

(3) I will interpret the law.

This is a phrase that may sound a little trite, and it’s because it is a favorite of Republican judges. I recall being interviewed by the Houston Chronicle editorial board in 2014, and discussing how the law always changes, and a good judge needs the alacrity to respond to changes or developments in the law. In 2014, I discussed how a federal court may one day soon legalize same-sex marriage in Texas. (In fact, the Supreme Court did just that less than a year later.) I discussed the need to react to updates in the law by openly and fairly interpreting it.

I suggested that a good judge would examine the prospect, then, of common-law marriages being found for same-sex couples. Whether the decedent in probate court left a surviving spouse is often a major question. Many Republican judges, the ones who talk about interpreting the law, now make political statements by ending their longstanding occupational commitment to officiating marriages. I don’t see that as following the law. I see my suggestion, reacting to the developments and updates that may arise, as following the law more faithfully.

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

JH:  I have practiced law for more than 40 years. I have also practiced any and every different type of law under the sun, with the regrettable exception of arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

I have practiced law longer than my primary opponent has been alive. He solely does probate law, and claims that he has more active cases currently before the probate court.

But as I explained, much of the probate courts is administrative. Probating most wills is very straightforward. I have no doubt that both my opponent and I would be able to capably do such tasks. The probate courts, though, are also courts of equity, or doing the right thing. And in such cases, there simply is no substitute for the experience, wisdom and compassion that accompanies practicing the law for more than 40 years.

TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

JH:  I am very lucky to have a remarkable family with whom I can spend as much time as I can. My wife Deborah, sons Geoffrey and Noah, daughter-in-law Adele, nephews Jamie and Daniel, and standard poodles Tilly and Sadie brighten my days.

Thanks to Mr. Horwitz for the responses.

 

Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th.  For the Primary, you must register to vote no later than February 5th (if you’re unsure of your voting status, here’s where you can check your registration).  Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

 

Texoblogosphere: Week of February 19th

The Texas Progressive Alliance is thankful Adam Rippon is here to distract us from everything else as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff questions the assumption that Republicans have the advantage for November in Harris County.

It is understandable that the tragic events at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School would dominate the current news cycle. As we continue to mourn with them AND stand with them in calls for action, it’s also important to keep up with developments in our community as well. Texas Leftist shares news about the brave students of Houston’s Austin High School, who protested the ICE detention of an undocumented classmate, just months shy of his graduation. Is it truly the priority of our Federal Law Enforcement to persecute high school students who have done nothing wrong?? #FreeDennis

SocraticGadfly has some First Amendment and other questions about the Mueller indictments.

Stace is still sad that the local rodeo doesn’t have any Tejano Music on GoTejano day. But San Antonio is having one awesome music fest in March with the Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair Weekend. Because without Tex-Mex culture, politics is pretty boring.

Neil at All People Have Value said school shootings are an intended result of America’s gun culture rather than an aberration. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Brene Brown speaks truth to bullshit on gun reform. (Not from this week, but it was getting shared a lot this week and is certainly on point, so.)

Jason Pittman and Anita Ledbetter explain how Trump’s tariffs on solar panels will affect Texans.

Juanita passes along a couple of primary recommendations.

Texas expat Elise Hu prepares for the Year of the Dog.

The Lunch Tray highlights a class difference in how parents treat junk food for their kids.

Paul Battaglio, Doug Goodman, and Meghna Sabharwal voice concerns about how nonprofits are handling sexual harassment allegations.

 

Texas Leftist 2018 Endorsements- Democratic Primary

For those interested, here are the Texas Leftist Endorsements for the 2018 Democratic Primary.

Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th.  For the Primary, you must register to vote no later than February 5th (if you’re unsure of your voting status, here’s where you can check your registration).  Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery Countyand Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

Texas Leftist has chosen to endorse candidates because they have demonstrated a commitment to advancing public policies that will improve the lives of Texans.  Though each person’s individual positions vary, they are generally candidates that stand for equality, social justice, comprehensive immigration reform, healthcare expansion, living wage and economic prosperity.

 

Though not endorsed by Texas Leftist, candidates Margarita Ruiz Johnson, Matt Harris, Glenn “Grumpy” Williams, Kevin Nelson, Tahir Javed and Levy Q. Barnes Jr. did participate in this year’s Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire.  Please consult their interviews for more information. 

 

Federal Races

United States Senate                            Beto O’Rourke

United States House TX #2               Silky Malik

United States House TX #7                Ivan Sanchez (TLCQ)

United States House TX #10             Tami Walker (TLCQ)

United States House TX #14              Adrienne Bell

United States House TX #18              Sheila Jackson-Lee

United States House TX #22              Steve Brown

United States House TX  #27             Vanessa Edwards Foster (TLCQ)

United States House TX #29               Sylvia R. Garcia

United States House TX #36               Dayna Steele

 

State Races

Governor                                                                    Andrew White

Lieutenant Governor                                            Mike Collier  (TLCQ)

General Land Office Commissioner             Miguel Suazo

Railroad Commissioner                                       Roman McAllen

Agriculture Commissioner                                Kim Olson

Comptroller                                                                Joi Chevalier

Texas State Senate #5                                Brian E. Cronin (TLCQ)

Texas State Senate #15                             John Whitmire

Texas State Senate #17                              Fran Watson (TLCQ)

Texas State House #28                               Meghan Scoggins

Texas State House #29                               Dylan Forbis

Texas State House #126                            Undrai Fizer

Texas State House #129                            Alexander Jonathan Karjeker

Texas State House #130                             Frederick A. Infortunio (TLCQ)

Texas State House #133                             Sandra G. Moore

Texas State House #134                             Allison Sawyer

Texas State House #138                              Adam Milasincic (TLCQ)

Texas State House #139                              Randy Bates

Texas State House #142                              Harold V. Dutton Jr.

Texas State House #146                               Shawn Nicole Thierry

Texas State House #147                               Garnet Coleman

 

Harris County Races

Harris County District Clerk                            Marilyn Burgess

Harris County Clerk                                              Diane Trautman

County Treasurer                                                   Dylan Osborne

Harris County Commissioner #2                  Adrian Garcia

Harris County Commissioner #4                   Penny Shaw

County School Trustee Position #3             Josh Wallenstein

 

Judicial Races

Texas Supreme Court, Place 2              Steven Kirkland

14th Court of Appeals, Place 3            Jerry Zimmerer

14th Court of Appeals, Place 8            Michele Chimene

55th Civil District Court                          Latosha Lewis Payne

113th Civil District Court                        Rabeea Collier

185th Civil District Court                       Jason Luong

188th Civil District Court                        Scott Dollinger

234th Civil District Court                        Lauren Reeder

269th Civil District Court                          Cory Sepolio

281st Civil District Court                           George Arnold

246th Family District Court                      Angela Graves- Harrington

289th Family District Court                      Barbara J. Stadler

309th Family District Court                      Kathy Vossler

Harris County Probate Court #2                         Jim L. Peacock

Harris County Probate Court #4                        James S. Horwitz (TLCQ)

Harris County Criminal Court #2                        Harold J. Landreneau

Harris County Criminal Court #5                        David M. Fleischer

Harris County Criminal Court #7                          Andrew A. Wright

Harris County Criminal Court #11                         Gus Saper

Harris County Criminal Court #12                        Juan A. Aguirre

Harris County Criminal Court #13                         Raul Rodriguez

Harris County Criminal Court #15                        Kris Ougrah

 

In addition to the TLCQ 2018 series, the following resources were also consulted for the 2018 Texas Leftist endorsements: Off The Kuff, Dos CentavosHouston GLBT CaucusProject Vote SmartThe Texas TribuneThe Houston Chronicle Endorsements, The Dallas Morning NewsThe League of Women Voters Guide and Ballotpedia.

 

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

 

TLCQ 2018: Ivan Sanchez

In the Fourteenth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Ivan Sanchez,  candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, Texas’ 7th Congressional District.

Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.

 

TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

IS:  Ivan Sanchez

TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

IS:  No.  I have never held public office.

TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

IS:  The purpose of government is to provide, as best as possible, a system guided by what is in the best interest of the common good.  It must protect and defend the principles of our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence; wherein, “all men are created equal”, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, “that among these are life, liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.

IS:  As a freshman congressman, I realize I will have limited opportunity to directly introduce legislation; however, I will passionately support and advocate for legislation that: (1) acknowledges climate change and the need to control abuse of our ecosystem, including development of renewable energy; (2) is designed to implement a path to citizenship for DREAMers and other (non felony) immigrants; and (3) will provide single payer healthcare.

TL:  In the coming years, the state of Texas is on course to have an unprecedented boom in the state’s population. But with more people and more opportunities comes an ever-increasing strain on Texas roads and infrastructure. Describe your thoughts on what needs to be done to improve Texas infrastructure now so we can plan for a bright future for the state.

IS:  Improving Texas’ infrastructure must be addressed as a two-fold issue—addressing current infrastructure and developing sustainable long-term solutions.  Currently, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute is involved in “developing solutions to the problems and challenges facing all modes of transportation.”  This research, along with the work being conducted by the Houston-Galveston Area Council and NASA must be collaborated to maintain an effective and efficient infrastructure as we know it today.  At the same time, these same types of agencies and enterprises must collaborate to create visionary modalities of transportation and infrastructure.  The recent news items regarding the Dallas-Houston bullet train are indication that we are headed in the right direction, but the bullet train must not be the only solution.  Government must step up to partner with industry to develop urban area transportation infrastructure that does not only increase current highway capacity (adding more lanes to a highway is not a sustainable solution), but considers automation and other technologically informed solutions.  There must be paradigm shift from single-vehicle transportation as the mode to mass-transit as the mode.

TL:  Even as impressive growth continues in around the state’s urban centers, rural Texans are faced with a healthcare crisis.  According to Laura Garcia of the Victoria Advocate, rural communities across the state have lost 18 hospitals in less than five years, and this was before any additional challenges worsened by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.  Without hospital services in or near their local communities, the medical and emergency care is at an increasing risk our citizens.  As a legislator, how would you plan to address this issue and help Texas’ vital rural healthcare facilities stay open?  

IS:  The rural healthcare issues and concerns are symptomatic of a national healthcare crisis.  Providing affordable healthcare is the goal, which is to-date being compromised by the greed of huge pharmaceutical companies and the skyrocketing cost of providing healthcare.  Shifting the conversation of healthcare as a right, not a privilege implies government intervention in regulating the industry to limit excessive costs of R&D and profit-margins passed along to the consumer (patient).  Addressing the healthcare crisis will inherently benefit the rural healthcare enterprise.

TL:  In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to overturn an Obama-era rule which classifies internet service providers as public utilities, and thereby governed under the 1934 Communications Act.  This decision essentially erases the principle that Internet Service Providers should treat all online content equally without giving preference to particular sources, otherwise known as Net Neutrality.  Please describe your views on this decision, and whether or not you would support legislation at the State or Federal level to uphold the principle of Net Neutrality.

IS:  What the light bulb was to the 19th century, the internet is to the 21st century.  It is an everyday convenience that touches every aspect of our lives.  We are in an informational era, and the opportunity to utilize all that the internet has to offer must not be limited by corporate giants who seek to profit based on the speed of a person’s connection, or which web pages and services someone wants to access.  I am a strong proponent of net neutrality, who believes the government must ensure the Internet continues to be treated as a utility, and internet providers cannot charge different rates, or favor certain websites over others.

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

IS:  I know the struggle.  I came to the U.S. as a child when my mother, seeking asylum from the violence that prevailed in Colombia, wanted to raise her children in a safe environment that would provide opportunity for her and her family.  It took me seven years, since I had to work multiple jobs, to complete a four-year program and earn my bachelor’s degree.  This great land has provided many opportunities and given me much.  I say I am DREAMer with papers, yet because of our democracy I am a candidate for the U.S. Congress.  I am passionate about being part of the solution to bring change to a compromised system, to ensure that our country maintains its edge as the greatest country on earth and continues to be the land of opportunity for all.  My passion is supported by my youth, providing an unparalleled level of energy and fresh perspective, and a contemporary of the next great generation.  And, despite my youth, I have had the great fortune to work as a senior liaison in a congressperson’s office.  I have developed a network of federal agency leaders, working to solve issues related to such areas as Social Security, immigration, and homeland security.  I am familiar with and comfortable to move throughout the bureaucracy, and challenge the status quo as needed.

TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

IS:  I am committed to my family, most especially any opportunity to visit with my toddler niece.  My girlfriend and I enjoy evenings alone or among friends, enjoying fellowship.  I am energized being around people, and any chance I have to celebrate life is my greatest joy.

 

Thanks to Mr. Sanchez for the responses.

 

Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th.  For the Primary, you must register to vote no later than February 5th (if you’re unsure of your voting status, here’s where you can check your registration).  Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

A Voice for the Rest of Texas